Margao: FC Goa’s ship that seemed to have no stopping has come to a halt after two losses in three games but on Thursday it will be a battle between distinguished tactics and styles when the ‘Gaurs’ line-up against Jamshedpur FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda.
Coached by the former Barcelona B man Sergio Lobera the 2015 Indian Super League (ISL) finalists have caught eyes with their attractive brand of football that saw them plunder 20 goals in eight matches but come up against a team that is polar opposites them in style and thought.
Steve Coppell’s teams right from his ‘Reading’ days have always been defensively strong and Jamshedpur is no different. Playing their debut season in the competition the ‘Men of Steel’ have conceded just four, with five clean-sheets in eight outings that had Coppell saying – “Sounds like a good contest – test of our defence against what has been the most fluid attacking unit until now.”
But just three points adrift Goa in the points table who are placed fifth, Coppell warned, “We’ve certainly not come (here) to only keep them out – but also try to expose any weaknesses they might have at the back.”
Although they scored 20 goals, Lobera’s side have also conceded 15 and although the Spaniard seemed not to be bothered by his team’s defensive fragileness, Coppell aware of Goa’s weakness said his side will play expansive football against the ‘Gaurs.’
But Jamshedpur equally have been dead upfront scoring just four times in eight outings and for them to outscore the hosts whose attacking flair have been of extraordinary measure, Coppell’s boys will have to be at their lethal best to win, something that can help them outplace Goa to the fifth position.
High-flying Goa have surprisingly failed to win in the last three encounters and although it may seem that teams have exposed Goa’s playing style, Lobera was insistent that his team will continue playing the same way they have been and that there was no worry that teams were starting to find them out.
“I’ve seen every game in the league so far and I don’t think teams are playing differently against us. The next few games will show whether we deserve to be in the playoffs. As for tomorrow, we will need to be at our best to beat a side which has kept five cleansheets and conceded just four goals,” said Lobera.
Whatever it may be Thursday will not only be a battle between the ISL’s most attacking side against it’s best defensive organisation, but also a clash of philosophies one that may decide the League.